Click to see more posts by WeirdharoldAvatar Bill of Rights?

The opinions expressed in this post are the opinions of the author, not necessarily the opinions of VTOR-Virtual to Reality Blog.

Yesterday in the post Court Ruling & Should We? I wrote:

“Cyberspace” what is it? What should it be?

exposed_brain.jpg “Cyberspace” is not inside your computer, nor the computer of people you are interacting with. Is it really inside a server somewhere in between? Or is that server simply a device which allows us to enter into “Cyberspace” as would be some space ship which would allow our us to reach distant solar system?

“Cyberspace” is a truly a place, some say it is not exactly real (which can be neither proved nor disproved) that is really a destination. As much a destination as an alternative dimension, or another planet in outer space. This place is an earnest and serious place where millions of us enter and leave it everyday.

Some give “Cyberspace” considerable thought, write about it, negotiate over international implications, or regulate it. regulate it… regulate it… regulate it… regulate it… regulate it… regulate it…

Should “Cyberspace” be regulated by any government body? Would they also regulate inhabitants of some distant planet revolving around some distant star? Maybe the question should be … Would we put up with government’s from some inhabited planet to regulate Earth?

How much right do we as a community of humans really have trying to control regulate force our ideas onto any alternate universe, dimension, country, or state?

Virtual Constitutionclick me for larger picture,

Today, thanks to fellow author TD Goodliffe’s post “Daniel Linden’s haunting words about SL at Standford Humanities Lab” pointing to the Washington Post article Does Virtual Reality need a Sheriff?, I find a quote by Philip Rosedale:

In the ideal case, the people who are in Second Life should think of themselves as citizens of this new place and not citizens of their countries.

“Rosedale said he hopes participants in Second Life eventually develop their own virtual legal code and justice system” stated the Washington Post.

These quotes leave me believing that Rosedale, Kapor, and I aren’t to far off on the basic idea of virtual laws. I have no idea how Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon), Pierre Omidyar (founder of Ebay) think along these lines of “freedom” in cyberspace, but I know for a fact that I am a “Libertarian.”

To me “Libertarian” means, in its fundamental form, I believe each person should have the right to do anything they want to do; as long as doing so does not interfere with anyone else’s rights. (I know this is over simplistic on the surface) Yes, I know that the uproar right now is over “age play,” but I also realize that once any form of “rights” is given up… it never seems to stop. Today it is “age play” tomorrow it could be something in which you or I participate.

The thing about true freedom is: if you want it, you have to fight for things you may not personally believe, but might set standards which will lead to the removal of rights you do believe in. Again the string which connects rights are tied together, and once one falls — another is tugged upon putting it in peril.

Rosedale’s statement, “I hope participants in Second Life eventually develop their own virtual legal code and justice system,” needs careful consideration and thought before being acted upon. Yet, shouldn’t an alternate world have the right to govern itself?

Resident’s of Second Life are residents of an alternate world, and are citizens from around the globe. No country’s governments should be able to set its own form of standards upon a global community. That should be left to the global community!

Could and should an “Avatar Bill of Rights” and a “Constitution” be established for cyberspace?

8 Responses

  1. 1 TD Goodliffe:

    To answer your last question Harold (and what’s with the disclaimer at the beginning, you don’t need to do that, your author byline is there and it’s clear who’s opinion it is. If we ever become the New York Times, well, then maybe! LOL), I would rather see it work on a server by server basis. Just like there are IRC servers for everything under the sun (yes, including illegal activity) that puts the burden on the owners of the servers, just the way it is with websites.

    Any government trying to limit virtual worlds will be as fruitless as a single government entity ruling the internet. About as close as Linden Lab might come is becoming the equivalent of ICANN. And yet even ICANN doesn’t get directly involved in the content of websites, they deal with domain name disputes and conflicts.

  2. 2 Weirdharold:

    So TD, you think that server by server basis would be: Better or more acceptable… than say allowing the total community of cyberspace to be its own entity… over ruling the laws of the hosting country? Allowing those people from around the world to decide community standards they choose to involve themselves.

    Just as I believe we (the USA) have no right telling some other country how they should govern. Whether we agree or disagree with how they are governing, the US government should not be able to say to states; raise your drinking age from 18 to 21… or we will withhold funds which have already been appropriated for your highway improvements, I believe cyberspace is a separate world community which should set its own standards… what ever the standards may become; rather than, each individual country having control as if the acts of those standards was happening within their borders.

    The internet original purpose was to become a network to freely exchange information (data), only to be hi-jacked by first government… or maybe it was big business which whined — that would not be profitable and transformed the internet into the business it is today… where countries think they should be able to control the minds and desires of anyone or anything who/which might be accessible from their country’s borders.

    Would not removing control of cyberspace from individual countries help usher in world community(s) who are able to set their own standards. In essence allowing the world to become a much smaller friendlier place, where hopefully better understanding and communication can dissolve at least the mistaken beliefs about the different cultures or ideas.

    Hey, I am just asking.

  3. 3 z3rr0 Zeluco:

    All of this is moot until the legal responsibilities of Linden Labs are determined. If for example, a government were formed, and a constitution drafted, the how legal are they. If someone is abused, or a property damaged in world, and the in world court reaches a verdict, what would keep the accused from suing Linden Labs then if the verdict doesn’t go the right way?

    Self governing is a great idea in principal, but I believe (no I’m not a lawyer) that ultimately Linden Labs is responsible for the management of the citizens. Think about where your subscription fees go. Who do you buy currency from (ultimately)? That is where the responsibility lands.

  4. 4 karz:

    Individuals basically know what is right or wrong.
    Government is an institution that guarantees that rights are enforced and legally demandable.
    Its sovereignty dependent on it’s territory or jurisdiction.

    Cyber-world crosses these boundaries by merging such territories.
    For one, international law seeks to establish what is universally acceptable in all world cultures.

    Laws are rules made by agreements. Ideally , that is.
    Every virtual world imposes rules which are the laws within that world.
    As it develops, circumstances validate such rules or make us think of a ‘change of rules’.

    Comes again another question of: Can you separate the real person from the avatar?
    Here the answers differ and become highly relative to individual preferences.

    I am for a bill of rights. I just can’t separate my self from my avatar.
    After all we are thinking and feeling individuals.

    Then, who enforces those rights?
    Stating the obvious, the server gets to play the role of government.
    Which gives rise to another question.
    Can you separate the server government within the territorial jurisdiction of the ‘real world’ government? After all. a server does not exist in a ‘never-land’..physical and concrete existence determines the answers.

  5. 5 karz:

    In addition, that brings us to the principle of corporate law. The corporation being an entity bound rules separate from the individual that comprise them. It is what binds rights’ and their demandability or enforceability.

    A good administrative team is a must for a virtual world to flourish. Not just good programmers and designers. It needs people who are knowledgeable in the fields of human nature. You just cannot separate the real from the virtual. Yea, the crime is virtual but the anguish and the pain and sufferings are very very real.

  6. 6 Virtual Legality — Food for Thought » VTOR - Virtual TO Reality:

    [...] I found a comment on one of my several posts — which I started to answer, but decided to bring the whole thought out [...]

  7. 7 Weirdharold:


    When I went to answer you with my thoughts it inspired a new post.

  8. 8 Lewis:

    brushwork@moldavian.pieta” rel=”nofollow”>.…

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